cover image Midnight Premiere

Midnight Premiere

Tom Piccirilli, . . Cemetery Dance, $40 (360pp) ISBN 978-1-58767-146-3

Three-time Stoker-winner Piccirilli (Headstone City ) takes a very Hollywood gamble with this uneven collection of 18 movie-themed horror tales from screenwriters, actors and directors, who write with more veteran authors. The self-referential stories by former child zombie actress Kyra M. Schon ("Arlene Schabowski of the Undead" with Mark McLaughlin) and B-movie star William Smith ("Humps in the Field" with Del Howison) fall flat. Queen of the B movies Linnea Quigley does better, teaming up with Michael McCarty on the beautifully grotesque "Wizard of Ooze." The bloody penalties for cinematic ambition are detailed in prolific writer-director Mick Garris's "Ocular," John Shirley's "Seven Knives" and Piccirilli's own "Shadder." The most successful contributions blur the boundaries between cinema and verité: Gary Braunbeck's opener, "Onlookers," is a shiver-inducing tale of observations that create reality; Jack Ketchum's "Elusive" makes a common question deeply disturbing; and Ray Garton's "Everything Must Go" is a heart-pounding, heartbreaking story about knowing when to believe your eyes. (Dec.)